“Awesome” School Bus Driver Honored by Thomas Built Buses

Michigan Bus Driver Goes the Extra Mile for “Her Kids”

High Point, N.C. – For Lake Orion, Mich., bus driver Dawn Lemaster, there’s a lot more to school bus driving than just picking up and dropping off students. Lemaster, who earned top placement in the Thomas Built Buses Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year essay contest, has been a bus driver for Lake Orion Community Schools for 15 years.

Ten year old Charlotte, a fourth grade student at Carpenter Elementary, nominated Lemaster, saying she was “the most fun, loving, caring and AWESOME bus driver I’ve ever had!” Lemaster makes riding the bus fun as well as educational, with an on-bus quiz game, a bus safety program and a portable library that encourages kids to read on the bus.

As the 2012 grand prize winner, Lemaster will receive a $1,000 Visa® gift card. The student who nominated her will receive a $1,000 education savings bond and a laptop computer. Both also will receive Thomas Built Buses jackets and lunch boxes.

Driver James Crockett, Floris Elementary, Fairfax County Public Schools, Va., nominated by sixth grader Rahul, was one of two runners-up. Driver Gregg Cunningham, West Noble Middle School, West Noble School Corporation in Ligonier, Ind. was the second runner-up. Cunningham was nominated by sixth grader Kendra.

Students and drivers receiving second and third place recognition will receive Thomas Built jackets and lunch boxes.

Now in its seventh year, the Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year contest was initiated as part of Thomas Built Buses’ 90th anniversary celebration in 2005. Since then, thousands of school bus-riding children have nominated their favorite bus drivers in 90-word essays that often include original artwork and photos of themselves with their drivers. More than 750 students from 28 states entered the contest this year.

Essays were judged for content and originality by Tom McMahon, executive editor, School Bus Fleet; Ryan Gray, editor, School Transportation News; Alexandra Robinson, president, National Association for Pupil Transportation; Tim Flood, president-elect, National Student Transportation Association; and Max Christensen, president-elect, National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation.

“We are committed to building safe, dependable buses, and we recognize, too, the important role of drivers in transporting children safely to and from school,” said Kelley Platt, Thomas Built president and CEO. “This contest lets us say thank you to the school bus drivers who take such good care of their cherished cargo, and to recognize their significant role in students’ lives.”

About Thomas Built Buses

Founded in 1916, Thomas Built Buses is a leading manufacturer of school buses in North America. Since the first Thomas Built bus rolled off the assembly line, the company has been committed to delivering the smartest and most innovative buses in North America. Learn more at www.ThomasBus.com or at www.facebook.com/thomasbuiltbuses.

Thomas Built Buses, Inc., headquartered in High Point, N.C., is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC , the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America and a leading manufacturer of class 4-8 vehicles. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Daimler Trucks North America is a Daimler company.

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